Saturday, April 17, 2010

Considerations for Cloud Computing Strategy

What is cloud computing? No one knows. Every one has his own definition to suite his needs.

In simple words cloud computing is an umbrella term for XaaS and virtualized IT assets, supported by Utility, Grid and Autonomic Computing in one offering. But due to early in life cycle of evolution not all cloud offering are based on Utility, Grid and Autonomic computing principles. X in XaaS has many metaphors and there also exist great divide among analysts, vendors and service providers.

Why should a CIO be interested in Cloud Computing? There are few compelling reasons.

The main benefits of Cloud computing is to shifting Capital Expenditure (CapEx) part of budget to Operating Expenditure (OpEx). Cloud computing also brings in other benefits like Out Sourcing, elastic infrastructure, etc. But as the saying goes, nothing is the perfect, Cloud Computing brings in its own challenges; Security, Privacy, Availability, control over IT assets, Audit-ability, SLA definition & follow-up, Compliance, different style of application & infrastructure architecture, Software licenses, Vendor lock-in and most important is Change in thinking.

To limit the challenges of Cloud computing also has another form called Private Cloud which is essentially cloud computing infrastructure for the enterprise. It mitigates lot of challenges faced by Public Cloud (Cloud Computing available to multiple enterprises from a IT infrastructure vendor) but introduces its own irritants like fear of obsolescence, one more layer of IT assets, change in IT staff mindset, vendor lock in and software licenses.

Keeping in view pros and cons of cloud and non cloud, I have developed few criteria for any application to be moved into cloud or not. These criteria have been divided into Primary and Secondary on the basis of weightage to be awarded when taking decision.

Nevertheless, Cloud is picking up and entering into enterprise IT scene with fast pace. To remain at the top of such situations, enterprises must have some strategy in place for Cloud computing which can guide IT department as need arises. A clod computing strategy must address:

1. Infrastructure needs at enterprise level to move to cloud – public, private and hybrid
2. How to win and modulate people and organizational support for cloud
3. Checklist for deciding for Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud
4. Check list of Dos and Don’ts for potential Public Cloud vendors
5. Reference Enterprise Architecture which provides flexibility of introducing Cloud Computing into it – Private, Public and Hybrid
6. What to be put on Cloud or what not to be.
7. How to tackle Compliance issues
8. How to tackle Security related challenges
9. How to shift from one public cloud to another
10. How to shift from public cloud to private cloud
11. How to shift from cloud to not cloud
12. Back up/fall on strategy
13. Guidelines to compute RoI and ToC


The Cloud Computing is going to change IT landscape like outsourcing. But to garner best of the cloud computing, any organization must have strategy which should be flexible enough to adopt evolving Cloud.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Revelation about IaaS

While discussing cloud with my colleagues, one revelation comes to me. Infrastructure as Service dimension of cloud is just better access of Data Center. A Data Center which offers its administrative activities as API and supports virtualization.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


As Business Application becoming more complex and demanding increasing attention from its users, it is becoming difficult to keep engaging user with application. Just look at any ERP or any in-house developed application, screens are cluttered with mountains of information, navigation is like maze and workflow is like never ending clicks. To increase engagement level of users, applications various applications are exploiting few of the basis tenants of human psychology. Turn the work into play, in computer lingo, transform work into Game. This transformation requires new thinking while architecting, development and specially developing user interaction.

This concept is named as Gamification. Gamification is the application of game technology and game design outside “gamespace”.

Traditionally Gamification is successful in Training and Simulation sector but lately, serious business applications are also exploring Gamification. Essentially Gamification of any Business Application is based on a simple tenant: While playing a game, user internalizes the complex rules while reading rules user forces him self to learn willingly or unwillingly.

Few of the applications which have embraced Gamification are:

1. ( --> a tax planning tool
2. FourSqaure (  -->  Social networking/local search
3. Siri ( --> Natural language search
4. swoopo ( ) --> Auction site
5. RedOctane --> Music
6. Harmonix --> Music
7. Lumos Labs --> Healthcare
8. Quartier Saint-Blaise ( --> Mapping solution
9. Visible Body ( --> Medical Sciences

Few of the game frameworks are gaining acceptance in Gamification. One of such player is Unity (

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Levels of Multitenancy

Before diving into multitenancy, let us understand how a typical application is structured.

From the picture supplied it is very clear that a contemporary application is based on layered architecture and runs on infrastructure and network on which typical servers sustained.

If you look into maturity levels of SaaS applications it seems that multitenancy exists only at Database level where one data stores multiple tenants a.k.a. This picture depicts a picture that before SaaS there was no concept of multitenancy.

If you dig little bit, it is clear that multitenancy can occur at any level. At Network and Infrastructure level collocation is prime example of multitenancy. View level multitenancy is at its best at blog sites. Business layer level multitenancy is very much present in Applications in Cloud.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Success factors for a Cloud Provider

From the business perspective there are two types of cloud providers. First one are in Commodity Market and second one are Specialty. Those are in commodity market generally providing Capacity – Infrastructure. Their selling proposition is that their services are cheap. In this segment you can count Amazon, Rackspace and similar players. These players will survive on the sole criteria of their size and how cheap they can procure and manage their environments and how cheap they can sell to kill any potential competitors in the bud. The second type – Specialty are providing value add to their customers not only in terms of cheap services but also in terms of uniquely differentiated functionality. The prime example in this segment is Salesforce.

If you are cloud based service provider, find out where you are and where you want to be.

Mainframe in India

Recently there is report on mainframes in Indian IT landscape. This report is full of critical remark against IBM mainframe market in India. IBM attributing it as handiwork of Microsoft.

The main features of this report are:

1. Mainframe market is very small in India
2. Only player in mainframe market in India is IBM. Fujitsu does not do sale in India.
3. If cues are to be taken from China, Indian main frame ( a.k.a. high end server) bound to increase
4. Beware of vendor lock in
5. Indian competition authorities should take preemptive actions now, before it is too late as in Europe and North America.
The report is available at as free download.